Calls into Being

When God created the world, he spoke, and it was. Everything that we see, everything that we are, everything that would be came from God and his word. By saying the word, it was, and it is.

God, just by calling something into being, can make it become a reality. By contrast, for us, we must labor and work, but for God, that which is not comes from the word of his mouth. That is what Paul says as he speaks of the power of God:

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

Romans 4:17

We can apply this, of course, to the time of creation, as I’ve tried to do above. But I think that there is much more that we can say. Paul starts this verse by making reference to what he said to Abraham when he said “I have made you a father of many nations.” This refers back to Genesis 17:5 where God spoke to Abraham to declare that he, God, had done what he had promised Abraham that he would do. God had told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that his descendants would be like the stars in the sky. To do this, Abraham would need to have children, most specifically a son, but he and Sarah didn’t have any children from the two of them. Only through Hagar, the servant woman from Egypt, in Ishmael.

But God told Abraham that he had fulfilled his promise. In fact, God uses the past tense as he says this to Abraham: “I have made you”, God says when he says this to Abraham. It is done. It is complete. The work is done. There is nothing that is left for you to do.

Except one thing: to believe. He must believe. Abraham can’t see it yet, because he still has no children. He has Ishmael, but God doesn’t count Ishmael within the context of the promise that he gave to Abraham. No, Ishmael is not part of the covenant, God said to Abraham, so Abraham still doesn’t have any children. He has no descendants that are part of God’s promise, so Abraham cannot yet see God’s promise come into reality. The promise has been completed, but Abraham can’t see it yet. So, because he can’t see it, he only has one recourse: to believe that God’s plan will become a reality.

That is the reason that God made Abraham righteous before him. Because he believed that God could do it. He believed that God would carry out his plan. He believed that what God said would become a reality.

God is a God who is able, with a word, to make those things that are not true today in one moment become a reality in the next moment. God can change things with a simple word. This is what we are praying for here in Catania as well. We are praying and asking God to move, to see a movement of disciples and churches as well. God has given us life and declared us righteous through Jesus Christ, but we are also praying for the impossible, that God would call into being new believer after new believer and we are believing that God will do this in our midst, for his glory. By faith, we believe.

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